Saturday, August 1, 2009


Today's the day to realize summer is slipping away. It's time to hurry to the beach a few more times,, enjoy the waves, flippers, snorkeling, suntan lotion, and sand in your shoes.

Not for city lady Em -- no -- the last month of summer is ninety degree temperatures on our top floor, floor fan blowing, living room air-conditioning roaring, bedroom machine purring.

No green -- just one bedraggled plant in the hall that's hanging on -- its sun is the bright overhead florescent.

Outside -- gray, and dusty red, dulled brown buildings -- no green -- no leaves, no grass, trees, or flowers. A block away on the avenue there are four skinny trees in 5 foot square plots of earth, where New York City dogs want to go -- tug and strain on their leashes to visit, despite the KEEP OFF sign.

The seasons in the city are determined not by Mother Nature, but by various city agencies . Spring is when Consolidated Edison attacks the city streets with jackhammers and shovels, inserting more power lines, creating traffic jams and noise. Spring in NYC is a time to keep your windows closed.

Summer is for major renovations -- building owners installing new windows, re-roofing roofs, steam-cleaning or pointing the bricks, which mean scaffolding -- scaffolds adjoining scaffolds that are required by law to extend 20 feet on each side of the property being renovated. The maze of scaffolding, like a dark wooden roadway overhead, blots out other buildings, the sky and the sun. When I get to a corner, usually I glance up at the street sign to make sure where I am.

The fall season in NYC-- ah, the September routines -- doctor, dentist, accountant appointments, dilemmas you postponed ...

It's driver's license renewal time -- do I call the California DMV -- has it run out of money and fired the employees who send out the "time to renew letters?" I can't get a New York license unless I use my married name, which would mess up my other ID's. (I'm one of those married ladies who uses her maiden name -- E.F. is me -- E.F has in her pockets all my dreams at different phases of my life.)

And then -- uh-oh, oh- dear -- cool, cooler, cold weather, and darkness at five p.m! Winter clothes come out of the closet, summer clothes go back into the closet. (I flourish in hot weather. I can't stand being cold.) A defensive, protective state for mind and body is needed for dancing, and household/business chores.

New York winter is rain (dribbles, downpours), and snow (flurries, blizzards), and gray -- gray everything except for holiday decorations -- Halloween pumpkins --turning into turkeys -- becoming Santas -- and puddles. Mud, streams of debris, heaps of slush -- curbs to leap over, bypass, tiptoe around, avoiding kids with bulging backpacks, more panhandlers than last year, and shoppers loaded down with shopping bags, boxes, and cartons.

Someone will undoubtedly send us a poinsettia. We'll debate --buy a tree, or use the little artificial one we bought a few years ago? Maybe we'll buy a geranium plant ... gee-whiz, it'll be the night before Christmas and HAPPY NEW YEAR in a minute ...

Oh please, no! I'm not ready to re-think resolutions, plans, hopes, dreams, building renovations -- when and if we're ever going to kiss our old brown refrigerator goodbye and junk our beat-up old stove, and shop for new appliances. (It's a job we've avoided for years because we don't want to deal with all the irritating, seemingly unsolvable problems that arrive with every new thing you buy.)

Well, Valentine's Day is coming, and the Goundhog might see his shadow and then, in the warmer almost spring-like weather, we'll mosey over to PC Richards on 14th Street, check out appliances, and the four skinny trees on the avenue. Hey. we're true blue New Yorkers -- we ll see if they're taller, and enjoy the shoots of green, the little weeds burgeoning in those 5 x 5 plots of earth.

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